Building up steam on bid to legalise nicotine vaping

A head of steam: Brian Marlow vapes in front of a campaign van pushing for the legalisation of the use nicotine in e-cigarettes. The vehicle stopped in South Albury as part of a national tour. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
A head of steam: Brian Marlow vapes in front of a campaign van pushing for the legalisation of the use nicotine in e-cigarettes. The vehicle stopped in South Albury as part of a national tour. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

A BID to legalise nicotine in e-cigarettes has won over a Wodonga dad who thought he would die from smoking before switching to vaping seven months ago.

Andrew Parkin signed a petition in Albury on Thursday urging politicians to legalise nicotine vaping in Australia.

“I tried hypnosis, I tried the acupuncture, I tried the cold turkey and the vaping was what got me off the smokes,” Mr Parkin said.

“I thought I would never give up smoking, I thought I would die from them and then I heard about vaping and I haven’t had one since.

“I feel a lot fresher and a lot cleaner, I no longer cough up phlegm.”

Every three months Mr Parkin buys liquid nicotine online from New Zealand and drops an amount in his e-cigarette for vaping.

However in Australia while it is legal to have a vape, it is illegal to use nicotine in it.

The petition signed by Mr Parkin on Thursday is being circulated by Legalise Vaping Australia, an organisation pushing politicians to change laws around the process.

Legalise Vaping Australia campaign manager Brian Marlow, who had his promotional van in South Albury’s Aloysius Park, said the petitions of Border residents would be sent to member for Farrer Sussan Ley and member for Albury Greg Aplin.

He argues vaping is a “great way to get people off tobacco”, pointing to British research concluding vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.

“It mimics the process of smoking without getting the carcinogens and tar,” Mr Marlow said.

But Ms Ley, a former health minister, does not think vaping should be legalised.

Health booster: Andrew Parkin believes he's become much fitter since quitting cigarettes after discovering vaping. He had smoked for 28 years, consuming a pouch and a half a week of tobacco with self-rolled cigarettes. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Health booster: Andrew Parkin believes he's become much fitter since quitting cigarettes after discovering vaping. He had smoked for 28 years, consuming a pouch and a half a week of tobacco with self-rolled cigarettes. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

“If it worked and helped people give up cigarettes I’d be delighted, but unfortunately there’s no evidence it helps people give up smoking,” Ms Ley said.

She said the Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australian Medical Association and World Health Organisation were not convinced of the merits of e-cigarettes.

A federal parliamentary inquiry into e-cigarettes and vaporisers is being conducted, but Health Minister Greg Hunt has already said he will not legalise vaping.

A former Indi federal election candidate for the Liberal Democrat party Tim Quilty visited the van on Thursday and signed the petition.

“Vaping should be legalised and we support people’s right to smoke and this is a safe way to do that,” Mr Quilty, a non-smoker, said.

He argued smokers were already subsidising others through the taxes they were paying and the government “stood to lose huge amounts of revenue” by not legalising vaping.

The legalise campaign, which Mr Marlow said is funded via crowd sourcing, is in Shepparton on Friday.